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Tuesday, Feb 21st

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You are here News International Right-wing legislation stirs democracy debate in Israel

Right-wing legislation stirs democracy debate in Israel

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Legislation promoted by right-wing lawmakers in Israel is raising concern that democratic values are under threat in a country that has long billed itself the only democracy in the Middle East.

One of these laws already on the books would penalize Arab citizens for teaching about Israel's birth in 1948 as a "nakba," or catastrophe, allow courts to revoke citizenship of those charged with "terrorism" and ban calls to boycott Israel or any of its settlements built in occupied territory.

"Anyone who may have fallen into a coma during the period of McCarthyism in the United States might find himself quite comfortable these days in Israel," said Reuven Hazan, political scientist at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, referring to one of the worst eras for political freedoms in America sparked by the hunt for Communist sympathizers led by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Some of the proposals seek to impose limits for the first time on eligibility to petition the bench, as well as to reduce the tenure period for its top judge and give lawmakers a role in vetting judicial candidates.

Another would require all justices to have served in the Israeli military, effectively barring the country's Arab citizens from the bench. Under Israeli law, Arabs are exempted from compulsory military service.

TVNL Comment: Not to mention the undemocratic ban on Jews marrying non-Jews. Talk about legal racism. This law should be considered a hate crime.

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